Jul 18

Making co-production a reality

Posted: 4 July 2018

This week is co-production week, organised by our colleagues in SCIE, and we focus on how we can break down some of the barriers to co-production that still exist.

At every stage of my career I’ve been a firm believer that there should be a partnership of equals between people who access care and support and adult social care employers and professionals, who work collaboratively to design and manage solutions.

This way of working has had many different names and definitions over the years – but no matter what we call it, co-production is something that should be part of every adult social care provider’s culture, and in the DNA of every one of the 1.45 million people who work in our sector.

It’s a way of expressing the concept that the design and provision of care and support should never be a one way process. Adult social care services should never be ‘done’ to our fellow citizens, they must be a result of a person-centred, relational way of working together, that gives people genuine choice and control over their lives.

In my time as Skills for Care CEO I’ve been a passionate advocate of co-production in everything we do. My team will tell you I’m relentless in challenging us all to make sure our work is delivered through genuine partnerships and I know we can do this even better by continuing to develop our learning and practice. Only by doing this can we ensure that the work of Skills for Care is relevant, useful and effective for the sector and ultimately and most importantly for citizens.

I’m proud to say that we’ve made progress in this and here are just a few examples. 

  • Skills for Care is a Disability Confident Employer and employs people with lived experience and supports our staff who are carers.
  • Our PA Framework steering group includes individual employers, organisations representing personal assistants, disabled people’s user-led organisations as well as Unison, SCIE, local authorities and health provider organisations.
  • We commissioned a self-advocacy group to run a focus group to input into the feasibility study for a national recruitment campaign (that we are discussing next steps on with DHSC)
  • We organised local networking events for organisations supporting individual employers and PAs which are co-produced with people who access care and support – individual employers and PAs are encouraged to come and share their experience as part of the events.
  • We developed a series of resources to support people with autism with Skills for Health which were co-produced with people with autism, their carers, workers and other professionals.
  • We’ve run a series of events around the transforming care programme which invited a number of people who access care and support and their families to speak at and attend.

I understand that we still have lots of work to do; as an organisation I’m keen to continue working towards co-production at every level from our board to our engagement team, because everyone at Skills for Care should be committed to not only the idea of co-production, but more importantly how we can it make it a reality.

On a strategic level I’m pleased to be a member of the programme board for Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP), the sectors’ partnership to continue promoting person centred care and support.

Working together with our colleagues in the National Co-Production Advisory Group, our strength is in our collaboration across a wide range of organisations who are all committed to continuing the journey to working in genuine partnership with citizens. 

TLAP has produced and is in the process of refreshing ‘Making It Real’ - a set of ‘I’ statements that organisations can use to assess how personalised and relational their provision is. 

I want employers, and their teams, to do one thing this week and that is to reflect on what they currently do to embed co-production in their organisations, and what more they could do.

There’s no doubt our sector has made progress, and that we still have more to do. This is the week to reflect, debate and most importantly, act.


Skills for Care is supporting co-production week 2018. We help create a well-led, skilled and valued adult social care workforce. Our practical support helps leaders and managers recruit, develop and lead their staff, retaining them from entry level right through to senior leadership and management roles.

This month, we’re focusing on how we can support adult social care employers to manage their service, from planning to managing resources and people to monitoring performance. Keep an eye on our website or follow the campaign on Twitter using #ManagingYourService.

If you work co-productively and want to celebrate the great work you're doing, why not enter our Accolades awards? The 'Most effective approach to integrated models of care' award recognises effective approaches to integrated and collaborative partnerships, which bring together workers from different settings to coordinate and/ or deliver services focused on the individual. Find out more and apply now here.